Friday, January 1, 2016

Call for Proposals


The Myths of Multiculturalism
 Artists & Storytellers
Proposal submission deadline March 15, 2016

The Myths of Multiculturalism .... a collaborative poster series

Toronto has a reputation as “the most multicultural city in the world”. Through graphic art we want to ask, What does this actually mean for people living in the city? How is it that there is then heightened systemic violence towards Indigenous and Black people? How is it that Canada enjoys a reputation of prosperity while occupying native land, and while so many of those immigrate and migrate here have the door to that prosperity shut in their face? How is it that racism, police brutality, poverty and sexual violence disproportionately affect these communities? We see an increasingly vicious attitude that racialized people don't count as "Canadians", for instance when white people tell Muslims to "go back home" and when Stephen Harper speaks of "Old Stock Canadians". At the same time we see the City full of places where multiculturalism is appropriated and marketed as trendy 'otherness'...when white rappers top the charts while ignoring anti-Black racism; or when non-natives feel they can hang an Urban Outfitters dream catcher in their window but don't feel like supporting Native people in their political struggles. Internationally Canada boasts of being a safe haven and land of opportunity while its resource extraction industries are poisoning the drinking water of First Nations communities. Multiculturalism is convenient for big box grocery stores only as far as the "ethnic" food aisle extends, or for the City to advertise its "ethnic" restaurants and neighbourhoods, while in reality lack of food access is a problem in some of the most "multicultural" communities. How to expose and challenge this selective profiting off multiculturalism? How to break down the targeted racism that the myth of liberal multiculturalism perpetrates?

Let's challenge and change these myths. Let's team up artists and storytellers to re-map the narratives of this city and  create a poster series that reflects histories and realities that are often erased by the whitewashing of art and history.

About us
We are two Toronto based artists who have been grappling with finding a role to play in changing the mainstream narrative of Canadian multiculturalism. Much of our formation as political artists is thanks to the Beehive Design Collective, " a wildly motivated, activist arts collective dedicated to “cross-pollinating the grassroots” by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images for use as educational and organizing tools. We work as word-to-image translators of complex global stories, shared with us through conversations with affected communities.” This project is also inspired by the amazing poster series that have been collaboratively produced by Convergencia Grafica and others.

The financial support for this project (printing costs) will come from local Beehive fundraising efforts over the past two years in Toronto, and any future fundraising we can organize depending on our needs.  As facilitators we will organize accessible meeting space for contributors to come together and share ideas. As two white artists bringing forward this call for proposals, we are aware of our privileged position in this project and would also like to act as facilitators, gathering resources to make this project happen. We are grateful for any suggestions as to how to do this better.

This callout is specifically using colonial terms such as Toronto and Canada because they are embedded in the myth of multiculturalism. We recognize that we are on stolen native land. The general lack of acknowledgement of this ongoing fact is where the myth of Canada begins. "Toronto" is traditionally the shared territory of the Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat and Mississaugas of New Credit/ Anishnaabe. It is also known under different terms, The Gathering Place, the Meeting Place, the Place of Many or Place of Plenty, Ktaronto (see below for some links on this) among others. We encourage you to think about how to name the place/s represented in your work, but suggest you avoid appropriating language /names from others.

This callout is for (aspiring) artists AND story tellers! if you are both, amazing! If not, we want to encourage this process to be collaborative, so tag teaming with someone else is great. Maybe your grandmother has an incredible story to tell and you would like to illustrate that story, for example. Maybe you have a story to share but would prefer to have someone else illustrate it. Get in touch, let us know what you need and we can help match you up :)

Proposal deadline: March 15, 2016
Deadline for completed work: June 1, 2016
Fill out the form to make a proposal here

For graphics and storytelling:
 1.    The story/poster must relate to the GTA, be site specific or locally based. We want your story/design to be  architecturally, geographically, or ecologically connected to Toronto because there is such a strong history of people’s stories and struggles to shine a light on through these posters. We hope this callout inspires stories/graphics that record histories and images that colonization and gentrification purposefully erase.

2.   The story/poster must be connected to the storyteller/artist’s own history, to avoid people speaking on behalf of other people’s histories, and to "own" their own stories. Collaboration is encouraged! Through inviting storytellers to participate, we hope to broaden what we usually see as those who make art.

Specifics for poster:
-dimensions: 11"x17" / 28 x 43 cm
-colours: only two colours please (black ink + one other ink)
-the whole series will be anti-copyright
-must be hand made or include a hand made component
-format for submission: either digital high resolution, 300dpi file, or paper copy (all originals will be returned)

Graphic selection, production & distribution:
All images contributed will be posted on-line. Our goal is to print 8 posters (and possibly more). If more than 8 pieces are produced, all contributors will be asked to vote for those pieces they want to see in print. All of the contributions will be exhibited before the print run of the poster series.
A portion of the printed series will be given to each contributor whose piece is selected for print;
a portion will be distributed by the facilitators for donation to help cover printing costs;
a portion will be set-aside for wheat-pasting and other modes of public display.

2016 timeline:
March 15th: deadline for proposal - please contact us with your idea and interest in participating. Sketches and designs are welcome at this time.
June 1st: final deadline for completed submissions
July: exhibition of all contributions and selection of which posters to print
Fall: Print run of selected submissions

Click here to send a proposal, or feel free to contact us with any questions!

Contact: mythsofmulticulturalism (AT) gmail (DOT) com
share the callout on facebook:

Looking forward to hearing from you!
In solidarity,
       -Renée and Lara

Some useful links:
Canadian Cities Rooted In Traditional Indigenous Territories
Toronto Is An Iroquois Word 

First Story Toronto is a great blog and walking tour app that has been around over 10 years now, sharing many of these stories, as one of many resources out there.

image credit: quilt "Big Bright Pixels" by Lorrie Cranor used with permission

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